Let strength become your strength!

Person getting ready to lift weights



Whilst strength training is slowly gaining traction with endurance athletes it still seems many athletes are reluctant to incorporate this type of training into their own program at the expense of another swim, bike or run session.

The principle of specificity states that triathletes must dedicate substantial training time to swimming, cycling, and running. Yet spending all your training time in these is a recipe for overuse injuries. This is where supplemental strength training becomes an indispensable tool in the triathlete’s repertoire.


One thing I regularly say to athletes is that you rarely slowdown in an endurance race because you are out of breath, you usually slow down because your musculoskeletal system starts to fatigue and break down, so doing strength work NOW will help resolve this and build your durability.

A common tendency I have observed over the years is that athletes tend to omit or skip strength sessions in lieu of a swim, bike or run. But we must remember that there is a law of diminishing returns and ask ourselves, which will be more beneficial? Another endurance session, or a strength session which has been shown to improve performance in a multitude of studies?


The literature seems to speak for itself. Strength training makes the body:

  • More durable
  • Less prone to injury
  • Promotes range of motion
  • Significantly improves economy of movement and time to exhaustion
  • Among a host of other physiological and neuro-muscular benefits.

Several studies have shown that the addition of strength training to an endurance training program in well-trained runners enhances performance by improving running economy by 5% and time to time exhaustion at lactate threshold velocity by 21.3%. Similar results have been demonstrated in well-trained cyclists. Jan Hoff et al. (2010) found a 17.2% increase in time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power among the strength group and 4-7% increases in other measures of cycling economy, which is in line with similar studies done with runners who concurrently strength and endurance train.


A year-round strength training program is a key component to becoming a well-rounded, injury-free and successful triathlete. The best way to organize a year-round strength training protocol is to break it up into phases, similar to how you break up your triathlon training according to periodisation.

The BFunctional remote and direct strength program reflects the endurance athlete needs.



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